the beach at Arbroath, Scotland

31 July 2004
in a swing state

this week, i ended up spending a lot more time watching the Democratic Convention that i ever thought i would. every night i tuned in for the speeches, except for Monday evening, when i was at work (i'm still sore that i missed Clinton's speech). i really not sure why. i think i am still trying to figure out this whole politics thing. it's very very weird. i remember in 11th grade, my social studies teacher predicted that i'd either become a famous artist or a politician. i wasn't sure if i was supposed to be offended or flattered by that remark. i'm still not sure.

i had read an article on Barack Obama in the Times a couple days before his Tuesday night speech. the twist of events that will lead to his almost inevitable win in the Senate was fascinating, as was his background: son of a white American mother and a Kenyan father. this, i thought, is what American is about, not the sons of senators and presidents dodging Vietnam and going to Yale as pampered legacy students. i was energized and amazed by his speech, and thought, as i did when i read the Times article a few days before, that i might be looking at our first black president. i know i'm getting WAY ahead of myself. the man is still only a state senator. i really hope that it will happen. i know so much will have to change for it happen, but i hope it will. i need to see something other old, white, male faces looking out at me from the White House.

it was during Obama's speech that my sister, disgusted, said, "This is all bullshit." this coming from a twenty-year-old who hasn't even registered to vote yet, and who will probably need all the prodding in the world to even cast her absentee ballot before she leaves for London. i am a firm believer in the idea that if you don't vote (and are able to), you have no right to complain about politicians. this is one of the few things that John and i disagreed on: he never voted, and i could never understand why. maybe it was his hands-off Quaker unbringing, but it was a subject i mostly didn't approach, for the sake of keeping the peace.

i found myself thinking that, maybe a year or two ago, i would've totally agreed with my sister. i would have thought that the convention hoopla was all bullshit. but now, i think i feel somewhat different. my feelings toward this election are verging on a desperation that is leading me to fall in line with the Democrats i used to set myself apart from (i'm registered Independent, a little trick i learned from my parents).

i want Bush out. i don't much like Kerry, i still look at him and marvel that he was the best we could do, but i'm willing to take him to get Bush out. instead of watching the convention with disgust and cynicism, like i did four years ago, i'm watching almost like it's a slow, strange car wreck, horrible to see but too compelling to look away. i want to believe what they're all saying. i desperately do. i'm suspending my disbelief until November 3rd.

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